Last updated on 19 August 2011
Revocation of the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 (Scotland)
Whether to revoke the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987.
All comments and views should be sent to
Food Standards Agency in Scotland
St Magnus House
25 Guild Street
Tel: 01224 285189
Fax: 01224 285110
Responses are requested by: 30 September 2011
Who will this consultation be of most interest to?
Local Authorities, Association of Meat Inspectors, Meat Industry, The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS), Union Representation.
What is the subject of this consultation?
Whether to revoke the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987.
What is the purpose of this consultation?
To give the opportunity for interested parties to comment upon the above proposal.
Currently paragraph 18.104.22.168.1 of the Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland) states that in respect of fresh meat, only officers qualified in accordance with the above Regulations can inspect, seize and detain the meat. This now causes an anomaly due to the different qualification routes available, as some Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) with equivalent qualifications cannot currently be authorised to seize meat.
A new qualification – the Higher Certificate in Food Control – has also recently been introduced which gives officers the knowledge and skills to inspect, seize and detain all food, including fresh meat. This will allow a greater number of suitably qualified officers to carry out this duty. The Code of Practice will be reviewed, at the next opportunity, to include this new qualification.
Interested parties are asked to let the Agency know if, in their opinion, there are any reasons why the Regulations should not be revoked.
The Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 were introduced to specify the qualification requirements of those persons being authorised by a council to undertake the examination and seizure of fresh meat under the Food Act 1984. For those local authorities involved in the examination and seizure of fresh meat it provides an exhaustive list of qualifications, of which an officer must hold at least one to be appropriately authorised. Details of the qualifications listed in the Regulations can be found via the link below.
The majority of activities relating to the examination and seizure of raw meat were transferred to the then Meat Hygiene Service (now within the Food Standards Agency) in April 1995. However, local authorities retain responsibility for the examination and seizure of fresh meat at point of retail.
Following the introduction of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004, it is now the competent authority’s responsibility to ensure that those carrying out official controls are suitability qualified and experienced. These suitability requirements are laid down within the Food Law Code of Practice for local authority staff and the Food Standards Agency's own policy document for Agency staff involved in meat inspection. These require that to inspect, seize and detain food officers should be:
In relation to the Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland):
- an authorised Environmental Health Officer (EHO)
- an authorised Official Veterinarian
In order to seize meat the officer must hold one of the qualifications listed in the in Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987. Officers not holding one of these qualifications cannot be authorised to seize meat.
In relation to the Agency’s own policy document:
- an Official Veterinarian
- an Official Auxiliary
Due to the different qualifications that existed at the time these Regulations were drafted, an anomaly exists that prevents EHOs holding The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland Diploma in Environmental Health from seizing meat. At the time the regulations came into force, EHOs were expected to hold an additional qualification – the Diploma in the inspection of meat and other foods in order to inspect and seize meat.
In addition, in 2009 the Higher Certificate in Food Control was introduced. This new qualification, which provides for an equivalent standard of learning in relation to seizure and detention as that delivered to EHOs, is designed to allow authorised officers of a local authority who are not EHOs to inspect, seize and detain food. However, due to the more specific requirements of the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 these officers are currently restricted from exercising this power with respect to fresh meat.
The revocation of the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 would allow all local authority officers who meet the requirements of the Code of Practice to be authorised to seize fresh meat, including those holding equivalent qualifications. This will enable local authorities to make more effective use of their available qualified and competent resource.
Revocation of the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 will not retrospectively impact upon holders of the qualifications they refer to or the authorisations issued under them to date. It is recognised that there may be existing officers who initially qualified as official veterinary auxiliaries under these Regulations. The existing qualifications will, therefore, still be recognised. This will allow local authorities, and the Food Standards Agency, where appropriate, to accept a wider number of suitable qualifications as evidence in support of competence. The assessment of competence will remain with the local authority or the Food Standards Agency where appropriate.
The Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 will be revoked.
The Food Law Code of Practice will be updated at the next opportunity, to include the Higher Certificate in Food Control as an appropriate qualification for officers authorised to inspect, seize and detain all foodstuffs. Equivalence flexibilities provided for in the Code are currently being used to enable officers who hold the new qualification to inspect, seize and detain food in advance of the Code being revised. This flexibility will extend to include fresh meat once the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987 are revoked.
- Revoke the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987
- Notify local authorities that the equivalency flexibilities within the Code are extended to include fresh meat for holders of the Higher Certificate in Food Control
- Update the Food Law Code of Practice to include the Higher Certificate in Food Control as an appropriate qualification for the inspection, seizure and detention of all foodstuffs
The Food Standards Agency in Scotland would welcome any views, particularly if you are concerned that revoking the Regulations would be problematic. The views of local authorities, authorised officers, local government representative bodies and those involved in the meat industry would be particularly welcome.
Other relevant documents:
- Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations 1987
- Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland)
Responses are required by close 30 September 2011. Please state, in your response, whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company (including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents).
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with the HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation, which states that a consultation must follow better regulation best practice, including carrying out an Impact Assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment in Scotland). The assessment is included in the consultation documents.
We are interested in what you thought of this consultation and would therefore welcome your general feedback on both the consultation package and overall consultation process. If you would like to assist us to improve the quality of future consultations, please feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the consultation feedback questionnaire.
Publication of personal data and confidentiality of responses
In accordance with the FSA principle of openness we shall keep a copy of the completed consultation and responses, to be made available to the public on request. The FSA will publish a summary of responses, which may include personal data, such as your full name. Disclosure of any other personal data would be made only upon request for the full consultation responses. If you do not want this information to be released, please complete and return the Publication of Personal Data Form. Return of this form does not mean that we will treat your response to the consultation as confidential, just your personal data.
Publication of response summary
Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.
If, after three months, the summary is still not showing, please contact the person who was responsible for the original consultation. Alternatively, you can contact the FSA Consultation Co-ordinator by email: firstname.lastname@example.org